Elon Musk's Neuralink Raises Another $43 Million as It Gears up for Human Trials
By Jace Dela Cruz
Nov 29, 2023 01:16 AM EST
Nov 29, 2023 01:16 AM EST
Elon Musk's Neuralink, a company focused on developing brain implant technology, has secured an additional $43 million in funding as it prepares to initiate human trials.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, the latest round of funding, which included contributions from 32 investors, was led by Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, Business Insider reported.
Neuralink, known for its controversial brain implant technology, has now amassed a total of over $323 million in funding. The company aims to create a device that could be implanted in humans to monitor brain activity.
This microchip would be inserted into a patient's skull and placed into the brain. With the recent funding, Neuralink is gearing up for human trials after obtaining FDA approval in May.
The first phase of its trials is expected to involve 11 participants, selected from thousands of applicants who expressed interest in receiving the implant. However, Neuralink has faced criticism, particularly regarding the treatment of animals involved in testing its brain implant technology.
Reports alleged that monkeys used in the experiments experienced health issues, leading to eventually being euthanized. An animal-rights group alleged mistreatment, citing records that revealed what they described as "extreme suffering" among the monkeys.
In a letter to the SEC, Reuters reported that four US lawmakers called for an investigation into Elon Musk for potential securities fraud by allegedly misleading investors about the safety of a brain implant being developed by Neuralink.
Lawmakers Earl Blumenauer, Jim McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Tony Cardenas requested the inquiry. They cited concerns over the safety of the brain implant, referring to veterinary records from the company's experiments on monkeys.
The letter highlighted the alleged "debilitating health effects" suffered by the animals, including paralysis, seizures, and brain swelling.
The lawmakers questioned Musk's statements downplaying concerns about the results of animal testing, arguing that his denial of a connection between the animal deaths and the safety of Neuralink's brain-computer interface may have violated SEC rules.
However, Neuralink has already received FDA clearance for its first-in-human clinical trial. The company aims to advance brain implant technology to assist patients with paralysis and various neurological conditions.
As Neuralink gets financial support for its endeavors but faces continued criticism over its animal testing practices, the company's objective remains a subject of interest and scrutiny within the scientific and ethical communities.
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